Tag Archives: Eucharist

The Perils Of Asking Kobayashi To Dinner

 If you don’t recognize his name, you haven’t kept up with the news.  Kobayashi is the world-wide sensation in international competitive eating. The 5 foot 8 inch, 128 pound man holds the world record in the following categories:

  • Eating 97 hamburgers in one sitting
  • Devouring 83 vegetarian jiaozi dumplings in 8 minutes
  • Consuming 100 roasted pork buns in 12 minutes
  • Wolfing down 58 bratwurst sausages in 10 minutes
  • Choking down 17.7 pounds of cow brains in 15 minutes
  • Inhaling 64 tacos in 15 minutes

Unfortunately he was arrested on July 4 after allegedly trying to disrupt a hot dog eating competition in New York City that he had been forbidden to compete in.

Some people approach worship like Kobayashi does eating.

Please join us as we discuss this in today’s daily Bible conversation.


Esther 1:1-3:15
1 Corinthians 11:17-34
Psalm 35:17-28
Proverbs 21:19-20


Esther 1:1-3:15. We don’t know who wrote the book of Esther, but it was likely someone from Persia because we’re given no information on what was happening in Jerusalem. The king at the time of the events in this book was Xerxes who ruled from 486-465 B.C. This would place the events of Esther at the time of Ezra and thirty years before Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem.

Probably the most outstanding feature of this book  is the absence of any reference to God, worship, prayer, or sacrifice. Many scholars believe the author avoided these in order to build heightened sensitivity to God’s providential hand in circumstances and “coincidences”.

Interestingly enough, archeologists have uncovered historical support for some of Esther’s characters. The name Hegai (Esther 2:8) appears as an officer of Xerxes in the Histories of Herodotus. Also, a man named Marduka appears in a text from this period who served as an accountant on a royal inspection tour from Susa. Many scholars believe this was Mordecai. Apparently Mordecai carried considerable influence with the king. At the end of chapter 2 we read that Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate. This means he had been appointed as a judge, because the gate was the traditional court of law.

The New Bible Commentary offers an interesting observation on the difference between Xerxes the king, and his accountant Mordecai:

Unlike Xerxes, Mordecai was able to rule his household. The fact that he cared enough about Esther to check daily on her well-being provides a clue to his secret. Esther obeyed because she loved and respected Mordecai.

Queen Vashti, however, was not at all like Esther.

Being chosen for the “queen selection process” exposed the women to extravagant beautifying treatments. But after spending the night with the king, if they weren’t chosen, they were destined to spend the rest of their lives in his harem as one of his many  concubines. Many never saw the king again.

The story of Esther reminds us that coincidences do not exist. In fact, both Esther and Nehemiah found themselves in providential positions that preserved Israel’s existence. Nehemiah was cupbearer to the king and Esther the newly crowned queen of Persia. Not to be forgotten is Mordecai, who overheard a conversation and diverted the assassination of Xerxes.

If you’ve found A Daily Bible Conversation helpful, share it with your friends! Forward your daily email or send them a link to the website: http://www.bibleconversation.com.


Reading Paul’s criticism of the church’s practices regarding the Lord’s Supper in 1 Corinthians 11 tells us that the early church wasn’t passing out little cups of grape juice and tiny wafers. The Lord’s Supper was really that—a supper.

Their purpose was to join in a common meal, irrespective of social class. Apparently people were bringing their own food, eating at different times, and only sitting with their friends. The meal that was intended to bring the people together was actually dividing them.

The purpose of the Lord’s Supper is to remember our common unworthiness and our common need for Jesus. We all partake of the body and blood of Jesus because we need him.

In the body of Christ, no one is better than the other. Wealth, influence, personality mean nothing. We are all one body, gathered together in the name of Jesus.

“Recognizing the body of the Lord” means being sensitive to the needs of the people around us. It means being cognizant of our need for forgiveness, so in turn we forgive others.

Many people today like to slip in and slip out of church without being noticed. That sounds more like the Kobayshi approach to dinner. Stuff yourself with food while avoiding interaction with the people around you. That, or limit yourself to a select circle of friends, ignoring people who are hurting or newbies exploring the faith.

If you’re involved in a faith community, recognize the body of the Lord by ensuring that no one is marginalized or pushed to the side in your community.


  1. What spoke to you in today’s reading
  2. Where did you see God’s providential hand in Esther’s story?
  3. Think back over the last day or two. Where have you seen God’s providential hand in your story?
  4. What can you learn from Xerxes’ leadership style?
  5. What does it mean for you to recognize the body of the Lord”?

If you’re reading this blog on FaceBook and you’d like to join the conversation, click here.


Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church with Eugene Scott in Littleton, Colorado.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

What We Can Learn From Alferd E. Packer

In the winter of 1874, a man named Alferd E. Packer showed up in Gunnison, Colorado claiming that the rest of his party of gold seekers had perished in a snowstorm. Eventually he confessed that during the blizzard, in order to stay alive he had eaten some of his friends who had died in the storm. He had no choice, he remarked. If he hadn’t eaten them, he would have perished as well.

The legal authorities couldn’t stomach his claim, and convicted him of murdering his cohorts. After serving time in prison, he was released and died not far from my home in Littleton, Colorado.

One hundred years later, the students at the University of Colorado christened their new cafeteria the “Alferd E. Packer Grill” with the slogan, “Have a friend for lunch.”

Stories of cannibals have existed for millennia. Like Packer, some have resorted to “having their friends for lunch” out of necessity. But for the most part, cannibals have resorted to eating people in order to gain something from the person being consumed.

In many ways, the same holds true of Jesus’ followers.

Please join me…but not for lunch!


1 Samuel 10:1-11:15
John 6:43-71
Psalm 107:1-43
Proverbs 15:1-3


1 Samuel 10:1-11:15. Samuel’s words to Saul in 10:1 are very telling: “Has not the Lord anointed you leader over his inheritance?” Samuel was appointing Saul to lead God’s people. Israel didn’t belong to the newly anointed king. Instead, God appointed Saul as a steward over his possession. This is a great perspective for any leader.

In chapter 11, it quickly becomes obvious that although Israel now had a king, each tribe operated independently. Faced with the possibility of one region being forced into servitude, Saul rallied the other tribes into battle. Saul—and Israel’s victory—solidified his role as king.

John 6:43-71. Jesus’ words in this passage make it abundantly clear that he was more than a prophet. Every line is saturated with meaning.

Psalm 107. I always enjoy reading this psalm. The theme of this psalm gives praise to God for his unfailing love. Despite our digressions and failures, God proves that his love never ends. We can run out of patience, out of ideas, even out of gas. But God’s love and forgiveness is in infinite supply!

Proverbs 15:1-3. The subject of the first two verses concerns our words: “A gentle answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.”

I readily admit that I’m a talker. But when I reflect on these two proverbs, I’m inclined to talk less, listen more, and measure my words wisely.


Yesterday’s post about Israel’s evil request for a king generated an interesting insight from one of our readers. In two different posts, Elna remarked

Can you imagine how it was before Israel got a king? Everything belonged to the people, no excessive government spending, no overbearing and under-achieving bureaucracy? And no, I am no socialist…

Maybe that’s why God called a king a curse.
Being answerable to your direct family/family head makes your ‘sin’ more real…because it’s not “them” you are in rebellion against; its “us.” People always talk about the inhuman way of stoning. But it really puts the onus on the community to keep the sinner from sin because you really don’t want to stone your friend/family member. And from wrongful accusation/fraud because if you lie you will be committing murder. By putting justice in the ruler’s hand we are shirking our duty towards our community, and our own conscience because it is so far removed from ourselves that we don’t take responsibility.

My colleague and co-blogger Eugene Scott responded,

It seems that though the people sinned by each “doing what was right in his own eyes,” God’s idea of a theocracy (if we should call it that) in Judges and even part of Samuel had to do with the people not having an excessive government, bureaucracy, king, dictator, etc. But rather a loose system of family and tribal leaders that allowed them to be in more direct dependence on God.

What an enlightening and thought-provoking discussion! That’s why a daily Bible conversation is so much better than one person droning on and on about what the Bible says.

If you’ve found A Daily Bible Conversation helpful, share it with your friends! Forward your daily email or send them a link to the website: http://www.bibleconversation.com.


The early Christians were accused of being cannibals–and what would you expect when outsiders heard that the Christians were gathering on a regular basis to eat Jesus’ body and drink his blood?

Today, we read some fairly confusing words uttered by Jesus:

Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. John 6:53-56

What in heaven’s name does Jesus mean?

For centuries, theologians have debated this passage, likening it to various interpretations of communion. Granted, it points to communion, but on a deeper level, it points to the way you and I regard Jesus. Do we keep him at a distance or do we make him our life…and our death?

Ingesting Jesus means to consume him and look to him to give us life. It means to seek him, rely on him, and give him predominance in our thoughts. It means depending on Jesus to be our savior and follow him as our Lord.

That’s why his disciples told him, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”

At the end of Jesus’ hard words, and after many of his disciples left him, Jesus turned to his disciples and asked, “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Peter then answered, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

Eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking his blood means leaving no room for other options. He is our only way to true life.

You see, following Jesus doesn’t mean he’s a part of your life, it means he is your life.


  1. What spoke to you in today’s reading?
  2. What does John 6:43-71 tell you about Jesus?
  3. How do you consume Jesus? How have you discovered him to be your life?

If you’re reading this blog on FaceBook and you’d like to join the conversation, click here.


Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, Colorado.


Filed under Uncategorized